radish - illustration by Helen KrayenhoffWant to grow a zesty snack that can be directly sown in the garden at any time of the year? Radishes are a perfect choice. They thrive in the Bay Area’s mild climate, and they reach maturity in less than two months’ time. These peppery root veggies make a great addition to salads, soups and sandwiches and they’re delicious straight from the garden!

Native to Asia and Europe, radishes have long been cultivated on both continents. Selective breeding of radishes has resulted in an abundance of varieties. Their roots can be long or short, thick or thin, and have either a mild or spicy flavor. They may be black, purple, red, pink, or white. Many varieties can be found at your local grocery store; many more can be grown from seed. The following are a few interesting varieties that can be found in the BHN seed section (subject to availability).

‘Watermelon’ (a.k.a. ‘Beauty Heart’ or ‘Red Meat’) Probably the most spectacular looking of all radish varieties has a light green outside and a hot pink heart. It adds the perfect bit of flair and peppery sweet flavor to green salads. 

‘German Giant’ A beautiful raspberry-red variety that is resistant to becoming pithy and hollow. This radish enjoys cool weather and will reach maturity in as little as 30 days. 

‘Easter Egg II’ These Rainbow Radishes come in a range of colors from pink or purple to red or white. They make eye-catching appetizers or can be used as a garnish to brighten your garden salad. 

Like most root vegetables at The Nursery, radishes can only be purchased to grow from seed. Six pack starter cells are not very accommodating to the bulky roots of these plants. With many radish varieties available, these warm peppery roots are worth a look.

Happy planting.